Mary Page Evans

Painted Poetry: The Art of Mary Page Evans
Delaware Art Museum
March 31 through July 15, 2012

Mary Page Evans
The Delaware Art Museum is pleased to present Painted Poetry: The Art of Mary Page Evans, a retrospective exhibition featuring approximately 50 paintings and drawings created by the artist between the 1960s and 2011. On view March 31 through July 15, 2012, this exhibition highlights Evans’ vibrant depictions of nature and the human form while celebrating the artist’s distinguished career.

Mary Page Evans works directly from nature, seeking to capture a specific landscape, figure, tree, or sky. Her vibrant paintings and drawings evoke particular places–gardens in Delaware and France, a mountain in the Shenandoah Valley, the Florida coast–sites she returns to again and again, chronicling them in different moods and seasons. Displaying work made over more than 40 years, Painted Poetry is organized thematically to highlight Evans’ longstanding interests: landscapes, gardens, figures, trees, seas, and skies.

Evans’ expressive use of color and line evokes the spontaneity of movement and light found in the natural world. Not surprisingly, her influences include the French impressionists and post-impressionists, as well as the abstract expressionists. She has worked at Giverny, Claude Monet’s garden, and names Cézanne as a particular inspiration. Her artist-friends include contemporary painters Grace Hartigan and Joan Mitchell.

Evans describes herself as a “museum person” and loves to discuss how specific artists and exhibitions have influenced her work. Yet she has developed a style all her own. As painter Bill Scott has noted, “In Evans’ work there is always a balance between the representational and the abstract as well as between impulsive and meditative applications of paint to her canvas…She camouflages the numerous decisions and immense effort required to make her works look so effortless.” The artist’s use of vibrant color and energetic drawing prompted painter Gene Davis, a friend of Evans, to describe her pictures as “hymns of unadulterated joy.”

Evans is also influenced by other disciplines–music, dance, and writing. This exhibition pairs Evans’ paintings with the words that inspire her, from the musings of Paul Cézanne to the contemporary poems of Billy Collins and Susan Jackson. The exhibition programming, which includes a classical music concert and poetry readings, will highlight the interdisciplinary cross-pollination that the artist seeks. To borrow Scott’s eloquent description of her career, “Her journey as an artist can be traced by seeing how she successfully finds and reinvents the inspiration that propels her to paint.”